SOUTHINGTON — Cava customers seem to enjoy the new “Wizard of Oz” themed decorations throughout the rooftop dining room as much as the restaurant’s summer-themed dishes.
The West Street restaurant, known for its winter decorations, introduced themed summer décor to go with a seasonal menu and rooftop dining.
Tony Papahristou, Cava general manager, said he got inspiration from Las Vegas.
“I figured, let me bring some of that to Southington,” he said.
While he gave a tour of the newly decorated rooftop area Wednesday, crews were unloading crates with marble sections of a 17-foot fountain that will soon be installed out front. It’s all part of the restaurant’s effort to keep things fresh and new for diners.
Papahristou designed the flowers and decorations for the “Wizard of Oz” theme. He said it’s a story with enough elements for the entire rooftop. A large grass lion greets customers coming up the stairs as well as a large sunflower heart with the Tin Man’s hat on top of it. The centerpiece is a 275-gallon tube fountain, the center of which swirls to resemble a tornado. Behind the bar are green glass tubes to suggest the Emerald City.
“We did some elements where it’s clear what the characters are, and others are interpretations,” Papahristou said.
Rooftop dining is a major attraction for Cava customers in the summer, he said. The restaurant also adds summer menu items and drinks.
Papahristou said the restaurant has added a raw bar with oysters, clams and Alaskan king crab legs. There are more seafood offerings as well, such as sea bass and Mahi-Mahi.
Summertime drinks include a watermelon mojito with cucumber-infused rum and “fresh mint right out of our own garden” Papahristou said, as well as a strawberry kiwi dry ice cocktail.
Cava recently opened its Sunday brunch which has already drawn repeat customers, according to Papahristou. The brunch includes eggs benedict, chicken and waffles with bacon-infused maple syrup, lobster rolls and fig and goat cheese flatbread.
The restaurant’s lunch menu includes the meatless “Impossible” burger, a vegan lab-grown food.
Among the customers eating lunch Wednesday afternoon were Bristol residents Zhen Gao and Bo Page who work at an acupuncturist on West Street. Page was impressed with the decorations and took photos throughout the rooftop dining area.
The two got fish tacos, cheesy garlic bread and gnocchi.
“It’s fun in here,” Page said. “Next time I come, I want to come at night.”
The decorations have been a hit with amateur photographers, Papahristou said.
“People love the rooftop dining as it is. When you decorate it, people fall in love with it even more,” he said. “People are taking pictures everywhere.”